THE BLOG
19/03/2015 07:51 GMT | Updated 18/05/2015 06:59 BST

Society Should Teach Girls Not to Worry About Their Appearance, Not Schoolboys

An article published in The Telegraph on Wednesday attracted criticism on social media after child expert Aric Sigman suggested that boys should tell girls about their idea of a perfect woman.

Sigman said "It would be helpful for them [boys] to explain that what they find attractive is not just physical qualities but also qualities like caring, the sound of a girl's voice and her body language."

"that there are women who appear model-perfect visually but are just not sexy and there are girls who do not seem model material but are very attractive."

People took to Twitter to label it rubbish and said that this would only make things worse, while others said they were still affected by comments made when they were children and couldn't imagine why anyone would encourage people to comment on other people's appearance.

You can see the point Sigman is trying to make. He's not actively encouraging boys to say "well you're alright, but I wish you were a bit thinner and funnier" but the problem is that telling boys to tell girls it's not all about their appearance further encourages girls to seek validation from other people. And let's face it, we don't need help with that.

Additionally, boys would need to be extensively coached to handle the situation correctly because one misplaced word could do a lot of damage and this isn't really something that schoolboys should be having to deal with.

It is not the responsibility of schoolboys to tell girls that they are more than their appearance and that they're ok with that.

What both girls and boys should be taught, because appearance issues are not confined to females, is that your value is not based on your looks and that no one has the right to tell you that you aren't good enough.

Schools and families no doubt already try to teach their children this but the problem is that they're facing an uphill battle.

You can tell people that their appearance isn't the most important thing but if what they're seeing elsewhere in society and in the news, magazines, TV and the internet completely contradicts that, who will they believe?

The chances are they will believe the media because it's so overwhelming and in your face and secondly it's hard to escape the idea that your parents and teachers are 'supposed' to tell you appearance isn't everything because they love you.

Getting people to truly believe that appearance isn't everything will require a shift in society.

People of all ages struggle with their appearance because of what is constantly thrust in our faces by the media. The majority of people with body issues know deep down that what they're trying to attain is unrealistic but it doesn't stop them trying to achieve it because they're constantly being told it's what they should aspire to and if they don't, they aren't good enough.

We should be teaching everyone that being judgmental and that photoshopped ideas of the perfect body are wrong. We should call out more companies who extremely or unnecessarily photoshop their model, and we should encourage more magazines and newspapers to stop photoshopping and focusing on appearance and focus on people's achievements.

Earlier this year, when the British public momentarily thought No More Page 3 had won their battle against The Sun's Page 3, there was a lot of attention paid to how women are represented in the media in comparison to men.

There were discussions about it and people were unhappy about the difference in the way men and women were represented, which shows that the general public disagrees with what's being shoved in our faces daily.

Perhaps what we should be teaching children is that the media's obsession with unrealistic perfection is wrong.